Does the MacPro Have A Future?

Posted on by Larry

No one orchestrates surprise better than Apple.

The fever of excitement surrounding the launch of a new Apple product is the envy of every other consumer company in the world. Rumors, gossip, and eager anticipation create a potent mix for marketing.

But professional users are different. The shattering echoes from the death of Final Cut Server and Final Cut Studio (3) last summer are still reverberating throughout the industry.

The unnecessary, and unheralded, death of both these products killed businesses overnight, destroyed relationships, and alienated an industry. It wasn’t Final Cut Pro X that a caused the outcry, it was what died in its birth.

Professionals are not consumers – we are running companies, meeting payroll, and creating products using Apple tools.


Two months ago, Lou Borella sent me an email asking if I had any insight on the MacPro. I told him that I had just had a meeting with Apple where I asked them that question and they declined to answer. (This is not surprising because, as we all know, Apple does not comment on unannounced products.)

Lou told me he was going to start a Facebook petition to ask Apple to clarify its plans for the MacPro. This is Apple’s last remaining tower computer and a daily workhorse throughout the creative world. I told him that he could do what he wanted, but that Apple does not pay attention to petitions or respond to discussion groups on social media.

Still, he set up the page – – and I tweeted about it.

This last week, he caught the eye of Gizmodo – along with other Mac rumor sites – and his page exploded. More than 7,000 likes as I write this and adding more every minute.

There are two ways to view this: as a forlorn attempt to get Apple’s attention, or as a way to show that the MacPro is still relevant in today’s mobile society. This could go either way.

Apple locks its hardware plans LONG before any product is announced. The decision on the future life, if any, of the MacPro was made, probably, last year. Most likely, earlier than that. So, Apple already knows what it intends to do.

For those of us running businesses using a hardware tool that can not be sourced from any other vendor, it would be very, very helpful to know if it has a future life.


Here’s my thought: Apple hasn’t upgraded the MacPro since 2010 because it feels the market for it is too small. Combine that with Apple’s philosophy that it doesn’t pre-announce products and you have a perfect stew of insecurity for creative types.

But Apple’s philosophy doesn’t prohibit it from pre-announcing the death of a product. If sales are already so low as to not justify upgrading the MacPro, then there is no significant harm to Apple’s business to saying that the MacPro will be “End of Lifed” by such-and-such a date.

Conversely, if the market for the MacPro is large enough to justify updating it, there is no harm in announcing that the MacPro will be updated by such-and-such a quarter because the MacPro market is far smaller than any other computer hardware segment that Apple serves. Neither announcement would have any significant financial impact on Apple, but would be a SIGNIFICANT benefit to creative professionals planning their hardware purchases.


In my recent meetings with Apple, just before NAB last April, they told me that they wanted to give creative professionals a heads-up with where they were going with Final Cut Pro X. This was why they were having on-the-record meetings and sharing up-coming features with me. (You can read my entire report of that meeting here.)

Keeping us informed is a GREAT idea!!!

I sent an email to my contacts at Apple to see if they want to comment on this. I’ll let you know if I learn anything.

It has been obvious for the last couple of years that creative professionals no longer make up the bulk of Apple’s business – and that’s fine with me, I wish Apple every success. But because we are responsible for creating the content that Apple displays so wonderfully on all its consumer devices, it would be really helpful if Apple could share with us an outline of their future hardware plans for those tools that consumers will never buy and professionals can’t live without.

I mean, can you imagine what it would be like creating movies for an iPad on a Windows system?

Let me know what you think.


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39 Responses to Does the MacPro Have A Future?

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  1. Marcus Moore says:

    On his 5by5 podcast Amplified this week, Jim Dalrymple was asked about whether he thought the MacPro would be killed. His answer was a simple, “No.”.

    For anyone who knows Jim and his site loopinsight, or his track record with with Apple rumours- this is about as solid a confirmation as we could hope for on an unannounced Apple product.

    For me, a comment like this from Jim means that we will be %100 be getting a new MacPro. Now the only question is, will it be a refresh of the existing hardware, or something entirely new?

  2. […] frustrations about the lack of an updated Mac Pro. Final Cut Pro trainer Larry Jordan is asking Does the Mac Pro have a future? on his blog. Even Forbes has picked up on the story that “Apple Fans Want a Product the […]

  3. Marcus Moore says:

    Evidence mounting…

    MacPro update next week with FCPX 10.0.5 in the next few weeks?

    Fun stuff.

  4. “But Apple’s philosophy doesn’t prohibit it from pre-announcing the death of a product. If sales are already so low as to not justify upgrading the MacPro, then there is no significant harm to Apple’s business to saying that the MacPro will be “End of Lifed” by such-and-such a date.”

    Isn’t that what they didn’t do with FCP7? The extent of the uproar was exacerbated by the fact that they did not EOL it in a responsible manner. Rather that they had “re-invented editing”.

    Our company, like many others, is now in a position of having to migrate to something because at minimum, we thought that we would be advancing beyond 32-bit processing, single-format timelines and stable XDCAM support. We have 14 seats of FCP7 in-house and contract with another 17 outside editors to deliver our slate of seven national weekly shows. It is difficult enough to migrate the in-house portion, but we have minimal control over the contractors, whom we cannot include in a multi-seat license purchase.

    We are looking intensely at the Adobe suite, and not just for the toolset they have just released (although the integration of Prelude in particular promises to be a potentially significant factor in our mediaflow). And if we do that, what does the future hold for the MacPro? Do we further line Apple’s pockets by going with an iMac solution, or switch to Windows, creating yet another huge migration miasma.

    It’s funny how the initial rational for investing in Apple software and hardware was in no small part based on the single-source and stability consideration and now that very rationale has became the bane of our post ops.

    I just finished the book Insanely Simple. I read about Steve Job’s disdain for focus groups and committees. This has became a core component of Apple’s values and practices. They will NEVER listen to any outside opinions about what they should or should not do. People at Apple were fired or alienated for insisting on such tactics.

    You are correct that the MacPro decision has already been made. I just wish we could find out what it is. But at any rate and given their recent history, we’re not holding our breath.

  5. Stasi Bara says:

    Hi Larry,

    I know you do not know what Apple is doing bc they do not show their cards, AND, I believe you are as connected as anyone on the professional mac user level. I refused the “sky is falling talk” with new FCPX. It does seem now the body of evidence is growing very strong that Apple is done with supporting the pro user by not adding thunderbolt or USB3.0 to the “new” Mac Pro.

    My 2009, 8 core Mac Pro is plenty fast via processors but not by how I get the data in and out of my system. It’s clear they feel the money is in the portable market. Like many, I can’t imagine creating on a pc but it seems like that is going to become more of a reality for more folks. I like the iMac’s but I’m not sure their graphic cards support my plugins like Noise Industry / FX Factory.

    The most ironic part of this conversation is the fact that Thunderbolt is complete overkill for the general consumer, but for the pro user, who can justify the expense, it isn’t included in their pro line. Hhmmm.

    I’m sure you have an email into Apple. Please let us know if and what you hear back.

  6. Willian Aleman says:

    The news from WWDC is with no surprises, there is a limited MacPro for professionals: New Apple Mac Pro – N0 USB 3.0 – NO Thunderbolt – among No other options for high end video. Then, the current and future develoments of FCPX is that is going to run in an iMac or NoteBookPro in professional postproduction facilities. WOW! The kid next door with his iPhone 4 capability to record “HD” video and FCPX, plus this today announcement should be very happy.

    It seems to be that other than PC, the Hackcintosh will be the only way to go. The worst thing about Apple is that once they close their doors they throw away the keys so nobody can use them. No further licensing to other develpers, just nothing and without previous or ahead explanations. This is the new modality of making business in Apple’s World.

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