What Apple's big three have to say about the future of the Mac Pro

Three Apple executives, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing; Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering; and John Ternus, Vice President of Hardware Engineering, and Apple PR representative Bill Evans recently held a secret(ish) meeting with just five journalists to talk about the Mac. More specifically, a new component-based Mac Pro coming sometime soon, but "not this year." Today, TechCrunch, also in attendance at this exclusive meeting, published the transcripts for all of us to read.

You may recall that iMore Editor in Chief Rene Ritchie has, on numerous occasions, called attention to the fact that Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro since 2013, which is a painful thing to realize when you take into account that Apple also sealed up said 2013 Mac Pro so tightly that it is essentially an appliance, and can't be updated on the user end without some serious "Hackintosh" style DIY-ing.

Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, addresses our sense of feeling forgotten and abandoned early on.

We'll talk about what's going on and frankly, be a little more transparent with some of the things we're doing, some of the places we're going, because our pro users desire that and we care deeply about them and we're dedicated to communicating well with them and helping them understand what we're doing and what we're up to. We want to be as transparent as we can, for our pro users, and help them as they make their buying decisions. They invest so much in the Mac, we want to support them, and we care deeply about them. So that's why we're here.

So, in an unprecedented move, Apple let us in on a product its working on way before it is ready to go to market. Basically, it sounds like Apple is feeling pressure from the pro community to update its pro gear in a pro manner before it loses those loyal customers to a competitor. To calm our fears, Apple is giving us a snack to keep us satisfied until the main course arrives.

The biggest news from this meeting is that Apple stated it is working on a modular style Mac Pro, including a pro level display, that would allow for component upgrades and more flexibility in customizing the computer itself.

John Ternus, Apple's Vice President of Hardware Engineering explains why Apple did a 180 on the Mac Pro design.

The way the system is architected, it just doesn't lend itself to significant reconfiguration for somebody who might want a different combination of GPUs. That's when we realized we had to take a step back and completely re-architect what we're doing and build something that enables us to do these quick, regular updates and keep it current and keep it state of the art, and also allow a little more in terms of adaptability to the different needs of the different pro customers.

With regards to the update of the current model Mac Pro, Schiller didn't try to flower his words.

This is not a new model, not a new design, we're just going to update the configs.

Honesty and transparency go a long way.

You can read (almost) every word spoken at the Mac Pro meeting over at TechCrunch.

What do you think about the future of the Mac Pro? Are you excited to see what's in store? Let us know in the comments.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

  • No, they knew from the start that the new system didn’t suit those that wanted different configurations of hardware, they chose to ignore it as they felt it was a gamble worth taking. I don't mind them taking that risk but this is damage control, not transparency. Let’s not dress it up any other way. Even when they want to tell the truth they find some way of hiding or lying.
  • Here's what they have to say: "We're going to release, way past the estimated date, a marginally-advanced, aesthetically pleasing, form-over-function machine that has zero user-upgradable components which will all be completely obsolete inside of 3 years, and we're going actually have the balls to hit you over the head, hard, with a price tag that is 2 to 3 times higher than any other computer in its class." Sent from the iMore App
  • Well I certainly hope not. I can certainly understand that it takes time and money to design something that not only looks good, but fits together well, is versatile and can be worked on in the main without tools, (think Cheese Grater), and I don't mind paying a bit of a premium for that. But if you’re going to try and give me something as restrictive as that trashcan nonsense for that price, forget it.
  • ........certainly. Sent from the iMore App