The sky is falling again!

The neurotic “Pro” community are up in arms again at the hint of a baseless rumour that Apple are considering the retirement of the Mac Pro. This is my take.

Let’s assume these rumours are in fact the truth and my current 12 core Mac Pro will be the last one I own, so what does this mean as a creative professional using Apple computers for his work? To be honest in almost every task I use my Mac Pro for can be very easily carried out by a much cheaper iMac/Macbook Pro the only area that I need the Mac Pro is for 3D rendering where CPU muscle still counts. In every other area of media creation the Mac Pro looks like an anachronism from a bygone computing era.

Killing the Mac Pro now would be no different to the early removal of the floppy disk drive from the Power Macs of old, a decision that perplexed the myopic but in due course proved to be the right decision. We are entering a new era of computing with heterogeneous high powered mobile devices, high speed interfaces like Thunderbolt and cloud computing. These are all technologies that spell the end of desktop computers as we have known them.

I fully expect in the next 3 years I will be doing all my work on a Macbook Pro and have a render farm comprised of Mac Minis all connected via Thunderbolt running OpenCL to combine the GPU and CPU power for the most demanding tasks. This will be a huge change to the way I/we work as I’ll have the best of both worlds, a powerful mobile computer which I can carry out 99% of my tasks on and for the 3D rendering I can plug into an easily extensible network of cost effective render nodes. I may not even need the Mac Minis as Cloud services are improving all the time. I may choose only to rent CPU power as and when I need it and with the proposed improvement of the internet access one the coming years means it will be almost seamless between local and cloud computing.

You will not miss the Mac Pro and it is absolutely not a sign Apple is dumbing down it’s just about kicking you screaming into the future.