An Open Letter to Tim Cook – The Sad State of the Mac Pro

Posted on June 12, 2012 by

Creative professional and MacDaddyNews friend, Brock Landers, has written an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the lack of support and innovation for Mac users in the professional world. With the Mac Pro only receiving a small update yesterday, it seems like Apple is ignoring a market that has embraced them for many years.

Guest Post by Brock Landers
‘An Open Letter to Tim Cook’

The word professional gets thrown around a lot these days far too much.  It is used as a marketing term largely because super consumers, the Apple faithful, like to view themselves as special or “different.”  A professional is more than just an expert in that given field, it is someone who makes their living doing it.  That professional depends on that income and their tools are second in importance only to their skills.  That is why it is so frustrating that you have failed to see what truly made Apple different all these years.

The Mac Pro (MP) is all that we have left.  Apple has ironically gone from the “think different” company to one that promotes complete conformity and lack of diversity.  The MP is barely adequate in its current state with only 4 slots and no Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 ports.  With some high end graphics cards requiring 2 slots each, real estate dries up quickly.  The reason to own a MP is because a laptop simply cannot deal with the day to day requirements of a working post house.  A laptop cannot handle 4K footage for long periods of time, nor is it a pleasant experience to have accessories attached everywhere just to make it work.  The MP is necessary due to its flexibility.  My system was cramped from day one.  Slot 1: ATI card (out-dated and only useful as a GUI card), slot 2 : Quadro 4000 (stereoscopic option eliminated due to space), slot 3: SAS raid controller, slot 4: Black Magic output card.  That leaves no room for a desperately needed Red Rocket, second Quadro card, fibre channel, ESATA, etc.  If you think this is an extreme and rare set of requirements, why do products such as the Cubix GPU expander exist?  There is not a uniform way to unite the three platforms, MBP, iMac and MP, in a studio environment other than ethernet.

The “new” MP line includes a cutting edge processor, well it was in March 16, 2010, and yet another ATI card that is overpriced and not very useful.  It should be an embarrassment to Apple that HP offers a system, the Z820, that is similar in price but vastly superior.  It’s not even a fair fight.  It’s like comparing the US military to that of the Canadians (no offense Canada).  I remember there was a time when Apple could negotiate deals that would give first dibs on cutting edge chips from intel.  With the immense size and influence the company now wields, why not use that power for good?  Xerox had this mindset in the 1970’s (PARC) and I think you would agree Apple has benefitted from that.

Innovation is what drives this world.  It’s what gives us the drive to wake up in the morning or not sleep at night.  True innovators and artists are not content with the status quo.  In a world where everyone is a consumer, who will produce?  Apple makes carefully thought out products that the professional world has embraced with open arms.  But Apple also assumes a lot.  It assumes it knows best.  It assumes it has thought of everything.  This kind of arrogance can yield ground breaking products but it has also brought us iMovie Pro –sorry I mean Final Cut X.

Has Apple learned from this mistake? I challenge you, Mr. Cook, to continue to invest in the true professional, even if it is not profitable right now.  Let’s not be as short sighted as our lawmakers are towards scientific investment.  Do you want to see the Mac Pro end up like NASA?

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