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Tim Cook Assures Employees That It Is Committed To Mac and 'Great Desktops' Are Coming (techcrunch.com) 307

Apple CEO Tim Cook has assured the employees that the company is committed to the computer lineups and that a desktop computer is certainly on the way. From a report on TechCrunch: "Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we're committed to desktops," Cook wrote. "If there's any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that." Cook cites the far better performance of desktop computers, including screen sizes, memory, storage and more variety in I/O (ha) as a reason that they are "really important, and in some cases critical, to people." So no matter how you feel about the state of the Mac at the moment, you have new machines to look forward to. No mention of whether that meant iMac or Mac Pro or both, but at the very least it's encouraging to those of us who couldn't live without a desktop computer.
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Tim Cook Assures Employees That It Is Committed To Mac and 'Great Desktops' Are Coming

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it will be a REAL pro machine this time?

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      At least the Mac Pro is still a real computer with decent CPUs, non-standard yet swappable GPUs, and user-upgradable SSDs and RAM.

      The 2014 Mac mini, on the other hand, is a complete joke. It's like they decided to insult Mac mini users instead of just dropping it completely.

      • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @10:41AM (#53522303) Journal

        The problem is that people buy Mac Pro for the GPUs in order to use OpenCL, or god forbid, CUDA. Not CUDA on the trash can, but you know what I mean.

        And they haven't done shit with the GPUs in that thing, and they were bad when it launched 3 years ago, which in GPU lifetimes is like 5 product cycles.

        I suppose if they sold more of those things, it would be an opportunity for a company to reverse-engineer the BGA connector they are using to attach those GPUs, which we know contains power, PCI-e, and DisplayPort and create upgrade cards - this is what would have happened 15 years ago. But nobody is interested in spending millions to do that in order to move several thousand units even at the inflated price you could expect.

        That thing is the true example of form over function. Why spend $6k for one of those with two old shit GPUs when you could spend $1000 less for a workstation from Lenovo with 3 Quadro cards, Xeon E5 v4 processors rather than v3, faster RAM, far more configuration options, and still get the precious Thunderbolt that Apple drones on about.

        That Mac Pro sucked two years ago, and hasn't gotten any better with age. Apple neglected their Pro customers, and now they aren't Apple customers any more. And I say this as someone who used Mac Pro as a desktop since 2006, until last year when I built a PC using the Intel X99 chipset with DDR4 RAM and capabilities for 4 GPUs - something that is apparently well beyond Apple's capabilities.

      • Very true, still have my 2012 Mac Mini's, since I was able to upgrade their memory and the disk drive over the years they've remained useful.

        No doubt that the 2017 Mac Mini will be non-expandable just like the 2014 version, Apple counts on that revenue from people over-paying for memory and disk space today just because they won't be able to upgrade in the future.

    • Maybe it will be a REAL pro machine this time?

      In what way are current models fake pros, and what do you want to add to make them 'REAL'?

      The Mac Pro is a brilliant, state of the art design. You have a central cooling unit for ALL the electronic components inside, PCIe based SSDs, RAM and Xeon CPUs. All this in a very sleek, compact cylindrical tower that contains the best successor to legendary unixstations of yesteryear, such as SGI's Indigo. The OS? Unix - w/ the latest UI tweaks that Apple has made on them

      Show me another workstation that com

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @12:38PM (#53523577) Homepage Journal

        It is an elegant design that completely ignores the needs of its target audience in favor of making something pretty. Most pros don't care at all about a sleek and elegant design, because we stick the computers under our desks anyway. What we care about are all the things that the previous Mac Pro did, but the current one doesn't. The tower design was a much, much better design for a sizable percentage of pro users, and the new design is a major downgrade that looks like it was designed as a high end Mac Mini with beefier CPUs and GPUs instead of as a pro machine.

        With the exception of the faster CPU, the faster GPU, and the PCIe-attached SSD (all of which Apple could have done much more easily in the previous form factor), the only advantage that the new Mac Pro design has over the old one is cooling (fan noise). Unfortunately, the only people who care significantly about fan noise are audio recording engineers, and:

        • Recording studios need way more than a terabyte of storage.
        • Recording requires fast, low-latency storage, so they can't readily use a NAS in another room.
        • Apple doesn't build any silent RAID arrays to go with the Mac Pro.

        So their super-silent Mac Pros have a noisy third-party RAID array right next to them, completely defeating the purpose of making the computer silent in the first place. Worse, if folks take those machines on the road and need external storage, they have to carry two pieces of hardware instead of one.

        Additionally:

        • The previous design was trivially adaptable to rack mounting. The new one has to sit on a shelf.
        • It is challenging to transport on the road because if it falls on its side, it rolls.
        • It isn't stackable. The space it occupies and the space above it are lost, because it vents heat from the top.
        • It has no standard PCIe slots, making GPU upgrades unlikely.
        • It has no SD slot, requiring an unsightly external dongle that diminishes the visual appeal that would otherwise attract designer/photographers. (Mind you, neither did the previous model, which annoyed me on an ongoing basis, so at least they are consistent.)
        • It lacks dual-link DVI, which at least initially was a minor headache for many folks.
        • Apple's stock SSD is considerably slower than the PCIe SSDs you can use on the towers.
        • The twelve-core configuration of the trash can is still not significantly faster in multicore performance than the fastest tower version, but costs considerably more.
        • The single-core performance is considerably worse, so poorly multithreaded apps like Xcode really bog down on the newer models.

        None of those design deficiencies impact every user, but each one takes a chunk out of potential sales by making it less suitable for some segment of one of its target markets. And these are just the design flaws that come to mind off the top of my head. For example, I seriously considered buying one myself before I realized that I would never survive with only a terabyte of effectively non-expandable storage, and I didn't want to spend ten grand for something that wouldn't really be faster than a previous-generation machine costing a fraction as much.

        So basically, I'm not sure who the new Mac Pro was supposed to appeal to. It looks very pretty on your desk until you start hooking up external storage to replace the functionality that was present on the previous model. And in terms of functionality, it is more disposable than previous models, offering significantly fewer upgrade options, and yet costs significantly more. It is an absolutely baffling design that IMO marked the start of Apple's descent into madness. And that's why we say that it isn't "pro".

  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:44AM (#53521753) Homepage

    it's all BS.

    Put up or shut up.

    • Actually, is there a compelling reason to introduce new Mac models? The story we've had about desktops for the last decade is that thanks to the core architecture, they are incredibly powered for anything one wants to do, which is why their sales have stagnated. And we're talking about 2 markets - PCs and Macs - that have the Intel architecture in common. Chances are that if Apple (or anyone) introduces new models, they'll be disappointed. So it's adequate if they simply keep running their old models an

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:45AM (#53521757)

    Thats the only thing that matters apparently.

  • Talk is cheap. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:48AM (#53521781)

    "Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we're committed to desktops," Cook wrote. "If there's any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that."

    It means nothing until they back it up with real products that people can buy. Apple is clearly capable of making great desktop computers but they have kind of taken their eye off the ball lately since most of their revenue comes from the iPhone. I haven't seen a lot of innovation from Apple in the PC market for a while now and I'd say they've had more misses than hits. I think their desktop PCs are fine but not everything they could be.

    • The trend comes from the fact that PC sales have plummeted, globally. Smart Phones, and Tablets are what the non tech buyer are favoring.
      • The trend comes from the fact that PC sales have plummeted, globally.

        Even if the PC market wasn't down, Apple still would make more money from iPhones than Macintoshes. Mac's account for something like 10-15% of Apple revenues. Nothing to sneeze at but no where close to the 50%+ they get from the iPhone.

        Smart Phones, and Tablets are what the non tech buyer are favoring.

        Don't kid yourself. EVERYBODY is buying those including the techies.

        • Don't kid yourself. EVERYBODY is buying those including the techies.

          I'm pretty "techie", though quite far from needing a truly bleeding edge machine most of the time (I can use AWS when I need bursts of computing). You are 100% correct. I really don't buy or even upgrade PCs at the rate I used to - progress has stalled somewhat on the desktop. For many techie tasks, you can, when push comes to shove, use a high-end machine from 10 years ago if you update the memory and stick a flash drive in it. In contrast, a 10-year-old phone (or God forbid, pre-iPad tablet) would be hope

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            And the last two "PC"s that I bought were Chromebooks, since that's what the kids use at school. I have an old Core2Duo workstation with plenty of RAM set up for the kids that almost never gets powered on because the kids use the Chromebooks, despite being less capable and having a tiny screen.

            Given recent initiatives to teach the basics of programming in high school, will the kids still be able to use their Chromebooks for that, especially offline while riding the bus to and from school?

            • They are surprisingly useful. I would never try to type on a school bus - time management might be something to improve if you find yourself doing that - but they do work offline, depending on the application having support for that. You can even boot them into Linux if you know the secret handshake and run Crouton. Storage space is severely limited, but there's still plenty for a basic Linux system.

            • Wouldn't they be too busy torturing the drivers to pay any attention to their school-work?
        • Fair point. Or it would be if it was an "either-or" situation.

          What do creatives - actual ones, not posers - use these days if they absolutely need scrotoplop, garbagebind and all the rest?

        • The trend comes from the fact that PC sales have plummeted, globally.

          Even if the PC market wasn't down, Apple still would make more money from iPhones than Macintoshes. Mac's account for something like 10-15% of Apple revenues. Nothing to sneeze at but no where close to the 50%+ they get from the iPhone.

          Smart Phones, and Tablets are what the non tech buyer are favoring.

          Don't kid yourself. EVERYBODY is buying those including the techies.

          True, but fact remains that people's current computers - laptop or desktop - are so greatly powered that even 10 year old computers are running just fine, w/ little more than memory upgrades required. If Apple - or anyone - introduces newer models, they are likely to be initially disappointed.

    • Apple is clearly capable of making great desktop computers

      I'm trying to think of when that last happened. Graphite G4, maybe? That really ticked all the boxes in terms of great performance, a beautiful case, and assloads of I/O and expandability. Before that, I'd argue that the last great hardware they built was 68k-based. (I owned a Rev.1 B&W G3 with the CMD IDE data corruption failure, otherwise I might have pointed at the Bondi Blue machines. They weren't beautiful, but they were striking, if you were into low-end Swatch watches.

      The big-balls G5 commonly le

      • Those G5/Intel Pro aluminum machines had the highest build-quality I've ever seen in a desktop. I'm sure some leaked, but I don't think it was a very common problem.

      • I'm trying to think of when that last happened.

        It's happened routinely. Apple has made quite a few computers that could properly described as great - at least for their time. Some even fairly recently. They've got the ability to do it but their attention has been pointed at the mobile market for a while now and I think the Macs haven't gotten adequate management attention.

        Graphite G4, maybe? That really ticked all the boxes in terms of great performance, a beautiful case, and assloads of I/O and expandability

        That's a very narrow definition of what makes a great computer. I would argue that great computers come in many forms and the greatest of them are ones that change markets. Apple

        • They've got the ability to do it but their attention has been pointed at the mobile market for a while now and I think the Macs haven't gotten adequate management attention.

          That's what I hear, but don't understand....

          I mean, a company that big, you'd THINK they'd be able to concentrate and work on more than 1-2 things at a time....?

          A company that can't multi-task?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hope they have addressing the underspec'd macbook 'pro' (more like consumer-plus) on the roadmap too

    • I think their attitude seems to be that a "pro" would be using a desktop. And if you need to use it in more than one place, buy more than one. (cha-ching!)

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        And if you need to use it while commuting on public transit or while traveling on an airplane or passenger rail, then what?

      • It was only a few years ago that they were featuring how Peter Jackson used his Macbook Pro on the airplane to edit feature films. In pre-X FCP, when that was still good too.

  • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:48AM (#53521791) Homepage

    ...seeing how many ports and upgradeable options they can remove.

    • No ports at all! Soon we will force you to charge on a pad and only be able to connect things via bluetooth!

      • by dysmal ( 3361085 )

        The charging pad will ONLY be available from an Apple store of course. Your device will have a firmware "feature" which will cause it to explode if you try charging it on a non-certified Apple charger.

  • The desktop market's been stagnating for years. Are Apple chasing the scraps from M$'s table? Even M$ are changing their emphasis away from desktop!
  • Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:49AM (#53521805)
    Brace Yourselves!...Layoffs are coming!
  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:54AM (#53521829)
    How much do we want to bet that there is a vocal contingent within Apple who aren't satisfied with Apple's drive to eliminate features on their products? Personally, with all of the slimming and peripheral port gutting, Mac's have lost a lot of their luster. Sounds like others are agreeing with me.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      It will be interesting to see what the next victim of the courage will be. You'd have thought something like a keyboard would be indespensible, but the folks at Apple are visionaries and if they want us to work without a keyboard I expect we'll find a way. Exciting times.
    • Sounds like an internal mutiny

      Is that better or worse than a Space Mutiny?

      Calgon, take me away!

    • How much do we want to bet that there is a vocal contingent within Apple who aren't satisfied with Apple's drive to eliminate features on their products?

      I don't actually have a problem with the fact that they went to USB-C or removed the function keys. Those are actually sensible things to do in principle. What is annoying is how they went about it and the lack of consideration for users real world needs. Removing the function keys is fine if you have something better but it's not clear that they do. Going to USB-C is fine but they didn't consider things like a replacement for Magsafe or the fact that maybe having at least one old school USB port might

    • I'm trying to be vocal, like their app store process sucks, and upgrading laptop components isn't; but use to be.
  • With no ports! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exabrial ( 818005 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:56AM (#53521841)
    I can't wait to see Apple's take on DongleDrivenDevelopment for the desktop. Likely have no ports for anything, but it will be REALLY THIN.
  • 2010 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @09:58AM (#53521859)
    They haven't had a "great desktop" in 7 years.
    • Don't worry, now that we have the combined forces of Trump and Cook all things will be great again.

  • possibly with a TouchBar, as great and up-to-date as the iTrashCan? :-/

  • New Mac Mini? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by muffen ( 321442 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @10:05AM (#53521923)
    I waited for some time for a new mac mini as I needed a computer for my son, but got an Intel NUC in the end. It does feel like Apple has given up on stationary computers, but lets hope this means a new lineup. I think they badly need a new mac mini if they want to stay be a real force in this space.
    • Having owned a Mini in the past and now owning more than one Intel NUC, I don't think you've made a bad choice. The NUC was half the price of a Mini, and it does support linux if you want something non-Windows.

  • >> it's encouraging to those of us who couldn't live without a desktop computer

    My primary work computer has been a _laptop_ for the past five years. Sometimes a high end Windows PC, sometimes a Mac Pro. Most of the time I use a keyboard, mouse, and two extra monitors with my laptop at my normal desk.

    What's to miss from an old-school desktop?
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      The biggest thing a desktop gives me is more GPU ability for gaming, as well as access to storage on a faster bus than Ethernet or USB. However, with Thunderbolt 3, decent NAS setups that can be bought relatively inexpensively, the need to have that in a desktop isn't as great.

      I wish TB-3 external GPU/video card units were more common. That would probably be the desktop form factor's coup de grace in the mainstream. Having a connector to a NAS using Thunderbolt 3 wouldn't hurt either.

      • Although the bandwidth is there for a high-end GPU over TB3, latency is a bitch. You're going from a few inches to a few feet, 12x latency in a very time-sensitive scenario. Might be fine for some CUDA apps which load the program and data once and don't communicate with the GPU again until it's done, but don't expect to be able to run the latest games at the highest setting, even if the card you're using could manage it on a desktop.
  • by mlw4428 ( 1029576 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @10:08AM (#53521955)
    I bet their new desktop comes with NO ports (everything bluetooth), no external media drives (it's all in the cloud baby), and no monitor (they beam it into your brain).
    • I bet their new desktop comes with NO ports (everything bluetooth), no external media drives (it's all in the cloud baby), and no monitor (they beam it into your brain).

      Okay. How much?

  • Well, shit ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gander666 ( 723553 ) * on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @10:09AM (#53521961) Homepage
    I guess it is time to find some love for Windows 10 then. This much ballyhoo is almost certainly the death knell of the Mac computers.
    • OS X or Windows is not an exclusive desktop choice. There is another option.

    • by _merlin ( 160982 )

      That's what I did - went from OSX on Mac to Windows 10 on Dell Precision. Now I have a decent number of PCIe slots, 30-bit video output, and I can still run Linux VMs and manage servers over SSH. I've fornd that msys64 provides a usable GNU environment on Windows (with bash, gcc, git, python and the usual utilities). There are annoyances, but it's better than putting up with Apple's shit as of late.

  • by njvack ( 646524 ) <njvack@wisc.edu> on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @10:13AM (#53521989)

    Here's what Cook says:

    The current generation iMac is the best desktop we have ever made and its beautiful Retina 5K display is the best desktop display in the world.

    Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops. If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.

    Reading a bit between the lines... he said desktops are important and then fails to mention the Mini or Pro. Don't think that bodes super well for those product lines — at least, they're definitely not Top Priority. Hoping I'm reading too much into this; real professional workstations in the product lineup seems like a pretty important strategic spot for them if they're trying to appeal to the "media and development professionals" market.

  • Got the latest 15" (Score:2, Informative)

    by cerberusss ( 660701 )

    So I'm an iOS developer. After ~10 years of working for the man, doing Python and C++ on Linux, I wanted to do fulltime freelancing.

    That means buying your own hardware. Since starting freelancing, I needed to be frugal and made do with a 2013 MacBook Air. But now that I've got a real solid client, I've upgraded to the latest 15" MacBook Pro.

    It's a crazy capable machine. Love the fact that you can login with your fingerprint, and the new touchbar is nice. Not great, but nice. But it's thin, has four very cap

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      How's that job for Apple Marketing going?
    • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

      You developed Python and C++ for 10 years yet didn't own your own computer? That seems highly unlikely.

      You "freelance" and have a single, "real solid client"? What kind of professional programmer are you?

      • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @11:02AM (#53522523)

        You developed Python and C++ for 10 years yet didn't own your own computer? That seems highly unlikely.

        So it's not likely that after 10 years of working for a company as a developer (which supplied the company hardware), he THEN decided to do freelance and THEN bought his own hardware FOR DEVELOPMENT? Also, he never said he didn't own a computer before that; he said development meant he had to buy hardware. He, like many of us, could have had personal machines not up to snuff for development.

        Personally I have Windows, Mac and Linux machines: not one of them is suitable for development. The Linux machine hardware is pretty weak hardware; the Mac was a hand-me-down which I use as a media server; the Windows machine is a gaming machine. If I started freelance development, I would have to get another machine.

  • What about some kind of server? or open mac os to run in a VM on ANY BASE Hardware. If just for an local update server.

    The mini has been cut down from the last system and the old mac pro was a poor fit the new one even worst

  • Solder the RAM and SSD into a desktop configuration, while removing as many ports as possible. Seriously, they have to either keep wired Ethernet, HDMI, and USB 3.0 for the next generation of desktops (tacitly admitting it was a mistake to remove them from the MBP), or build a Thunderbolt 3 iMac and see if anyone wants to keep playing the dongle game. They can't use size and weight constraints as an excuse for diminished connectivity and planned obsolescence in a desktop machine. And they'll have to do s

  • "...hundreds... thousands of them. People are telling me all the time how great our desktops are, and believe me, our great desktops are going to make America great again. Nobody can innovate like us. We're going to save this country...."

    I don't know. Maybe Tim should not spend any more time with The Donald. Empty promises are the last thing that Apple needs to be making right now, when it comes to a market segment that they have neglected for so long.

  • by paulxnuke ( 624084 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @11:50AM (#53523039)

    I worked for a startup once. Already gone public, nice building in the valley, etc. We had a conference call with the CEO, who said they'd just inked a big deal with a certain large PC maker and we were on track to be a $100M company in a year or two. Fast forward 2 months, and... We're broke! Almost everyone was laid off: I got 3 weeks severance.

    Anyone who thinks Apple is different needs to read up on QuickDraw3D, OpenDoc, older Macs with DSPs, and x86 daughter cards to run Windows. For that matter, top secret Intel Macs, while they were still calling x86 junk. They won't breathe a word about what's going on while the old stuff still sells at a profit.

  • by ripvlan ( 2609033 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @02:14PM (#53524575)

    IBM once said that it was fully committed to OS/2. What is OS/2 asks the young whipper-snapper? It is lost to the history books.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

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