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New Apple Mac Pro? No PCI and no Internal Expandability? Will it be a Mac Mini Super Sized?

Apple’s WWDC is next week, at which time one might expect a new Mac Pro to be announced.

But is there a chance there will never be a Mac Pro, meaning that there could be a new something with “Pro” after it that doesn’t resemble the current Mac Pro at all, but is more like a pizza box or a super-sized Mac Mini, with little or no inside expandability (no PCIe, no extra internal drives, etc)?

What makes an Apple product “good” (in Apple Land)? To be a little cynical:

  • Looks good and photographs well. Call it the “dumb blonde” computer (no offense to blonds).
  • The 90% solution is the target. The 10% need their heads examined.
  • Breaks long-standing tradition.
  • Fewer options are better.

Largely, this works. The proof is the world’s most valuable company.

If Apple ran a coffee shop, coffee would be brewed from the very best beans artfully prepared in some space-age way. Stuff like nowhere else. But no milk or cream or sugar, and only small and large, because the flavor design is good enough for all.

But in a Mac Pro?

Readers are already worried from seeing articles like one at CNET: CNET reports that Apple's new Mac Pro said to ditch expansions, arrive this fall which references a FaceBook page by Lou Borella.


Technically one can make a logical argument for a box that has nothing but memory slots (please Jony, don’t limit it to 4 slots with a max of 64GB!).

It is possible to externalize PCIe cards (via Thunderbolt), hard drives and SSDs (via USB3, Thunderbolt) and so on. Such a strategy would be classic Apple (keep it clean and simple for core users). And such a strategy is even viable if there are a lot of ports each having full bandwidth (I’m dubious about PCIe graphics cards, but hey, who ever needs more than what Apple builds in?).

Problem is, “core users” don’t want or need a “clean” design that is the exact opposite when used for serious work; they (like me) want the simplicity of lots of memory slots, lots of internal storage and as few cables as possible. All backed by a high quality power supply and ultra low noise cooling fans. The last thing I want is a rat’s nest of cables to a pile of boxes with noisy fans. Or an Apple Thunderbolt Expansion Cube that costs $500 (empty), just so I can install a hard drive.

I’m much rather have an even larger Mac Pro tower with 16 memory slots, 4 hard drive bays, 4 bays for SSDs, extra CPU slot, six PCIe slots, and plenty of Thunderbolt and USB3 ports for those time I need even more.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Arne K writes:

As often, you remind me to the „shouter in the desert“: he shouting the truth – but no-one’s there that likes to hear the message.

I am concerned. Really. IF it should be true what rumors say, we Pros will lose a big amount of a) possibilities b) spent time and c) spent money.
We would be forced back into times of cabling and more cabling – plus, rely on the limitations (yes, limitations, this may sound funny to some iPhoto and Facebook “Pros” ;) ) of the Thunderbolt specifications. No PCI, no internal Drive slots for real TB drives, still no dual power, still the dust blows thru the case, bye-bye RAID cards, so long ZFS.

And in all discussions and rumor-discussions dealing with the topic “new Mac PRO”, you have to deal with Apple-fan boys, iPhone Geeks and lonesome souls missing the church it seems, no-one owning or even working on a Mac Pro, telling you how “cool” a “new design would be” and how “stylish” it will look. Those guys stare like hypnotized on the Thunderbolt-cable like white rabbits on a Cobra… Jesus!

Let me ask something: If you need a shovel for some serious shovel work and you order one at your favorite shop and because you are a long time satisfied customer, you stupid are even happy with waiting a year for your new shovel – but after all this time, all the jobs you set on “cancel” or “wait” status, all the promises given to your customers, a.s.o. - some hobo behind a sales desk offers you a small, tiny FORK (and to make things worse, err, sorry, innovative, it comes in three pieces, hold together by wires) as “the new redesigned shovel” – what would everyone do?!? I myself would talk very “closely” to the gentlemen - and after half an hour or so, move on to a shop offering the needed form of shovel.

What I don’t get in all this long time I have to deal with Apples “innovations”: what is so damn impossible in just LISTEN to your customers?!? Go to the pros, ask them what the need and want and work with, how they use their main tool to get an INCOME and, voilà, you know what to do. Put the state-of-the-art technique in it and THEN push it over to the designers desk for to put it into a nice, outer form – and so form-follows-function is also given.

The Customer is happy, the eye is pleased, the sales are good and your reputation amongst pros will rise. Easy.

But somehow not when this small boat of reality has to sail along the white cliffs of Overwhelming Egos in Cupertino it seems.

There’s an old speech in Germany for situations like that: “Der Wurm muß dem Fisch schmecken –> nicht dem Angler” (the worm hast to be tasty to the fish -> not to the fishermen)

The only good thing is: we all know where the shop with the fork-offering hobo is located…

MPG: Captures the concerns of many a Mac Pro user presumably.

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