The consistently (give 'em that!) disappointing thing with Apple is that they take a good concept (the Mac mini) and then proceed to “Jony Ive” it with the stupidest design conceivable: soldered-on SSD, difficult-to-open case, inadequate cooling, buggy display support (nothing but problems for me at least). And that’s setting aside outright design bugs like WiFi problems causing interference.
Most users thinking about a Mac Pro do not really need a Mac Pro. All they (and I) want and need is something straightforward that allows for top-end iMac 5K power in a compact box, something that minimizes the hassles of connecting stuff.
This then is what I’d like to see house the Apple M1X chip:
- Rectangular form factor, something between the size of an OWC Thunderbay 4 and OWC Thunderbay 8, allowing horizontal or vertical placement. A flat rack-mountable design would suit me too.
- 4 memory slots allowing 128GB or better (stretch goal: 8 slots). Ideally, option to buy with no memory.
- 4 Thunderbolt ports and 4 USB-C (10 Gpbs) ports (perfect used for omnipresent USB-A devices, using the right cable).
- Two Mini DisplayPort ports
- SD card slot, CFExpress card slot, and sound in/out.
- Dual NVMe slot slots for SSD. Totally upgradeable (not soldered-on). Ideally, option to buy with no SSDs.
- A cover that pops off just by releasing a lever; something like the 'trash can' Mac Pro design.
- Enough volume to make fan cooling unnecessary except under heavy loads, but ultra-low fan noise.
Basically a rectangular box with all the capabilities of an iMac 5K, without any display. Something that because of its cooling and design, could run under duress for 5 years without fear of failure— a real workhorse.
Will we ever see something with this much utility from Apple? I’d bet 10:1 against it.