Apple gave us another look at the 2013 Mac Pro this week at the update release announcement for the iPad line. Today another person noted what I’ve been mulling over for some time: the interesting design is missing two major features that will keep it out of the hands of a lot of video, audio and graphics professionals. You know… the target market for that machine?
The three big features are:
- Upgradability: If I can’t put the video or audio cards that I already have in it or can’t install newer versions of the same cards the the system has no use to me. Examples are:
- video deck controller cards,
- out-board video graphics units for multiple steams of real-time video effects from companies like BlackMagic Design, Avid, Matrox, AJA, Grass Valley, BlueFish444, MOTU, etc.
- audio interfaces such as Avid Pro Tools, RME, MOTU, etc. (It should be noted that most all Radio Stations run on RME interfaces.)
- Rackmountable: If I can’t put the workstation in a server half-rack, which most studios and live production crews use, then the workstation will need a custom installation in a space where space is a premium and there are already standards for such things.
- External storage: SAS Drive array cards to connect to MiniSAS and SAS Desktop Video Drive Arrays for HD and 4K Video editing. Examples are the PROAVIO, Sonnet and Promise desktop and rackmount solutions.
My point. Apple’s Mac Pro looks pretty, but professionals don’t buy machines to look pretty. We all bought Macs because they were the best functional machine I never had to think about. It just worked and anything designed for it just worked. It may be that Apple is banking on the expanded use of the Lightning Bolt port, but most professionals, self included, don’t need more cables and junk lying around. Also, there are limits to the Lightning Bolt port that can only be overcome with Bus Speeds. Live rendering all those pretty graphics you see in sports shows is a perfect example.
This may be the end of my journey with Apple hardware for a while until Apple realizes how badly they are alienating the Pro Media community.