If you work in the post-production universe, you probably know that Apple introduced new Mac Pros today (Tuesday). You probably also know by now that many folks were underwhelmed by what was introduced. The new Mac Pros are missing a few significant parts and pieces that many thought would be introduced during this refresh. They do look like they’ll be plenty fast when they ship in August. But they will be expensive!
Leaving the Blu-ray debate aside for a moment, (there are external burners available for an affordable price and no, there was no mention of Blu-ray in the Apple announcement) the biggest omission was probably USB 3.0 (and we won’t even mention the FireWire 1600/3200 spec which was approved back in 2008). The USB spec is relatively new but a new spec hasn’t stopped Apple from designing new technology into their machines in the past. It was an even more disappointing omission for post-production professionals after we saw the slew of USB 3.0 products (UltraStudio Pro, Intensity Shuttle, Pocket UltraScope) that Blackmagic Desgin introduced at NAB back in April. It was painfully obvious to many that we Mac users would have to wait our turns to get USB 3.0 added to the Mac Pro. Still, we figured it was only a matter of time before the next revision came out featuring this new spec. That did not happen today. Sure, a USB 3.0 PCI card can be added (it remains to be seen if the Blackmagic products will work with a PCI USB port). But for many of us that’s not an option. All of our available PCI slots are in use. This new Mac Pro doesn’t have any more PCI slots than the 4 that were available before (really 3, since one of the slots has to be taken up with a graphics card, or an eSATA connection poking out of the box).
I could go on and on about how Apple appears to be neglecting its professional customers and sending signal after signal that we are a less important market than ever before. I could point out Twitter tweet after Twitter tweet that’s saying essentially the same thing. But instead I’ll point you to an article by Brook Willard called The State of Apple’s Professional Line. This detailed and well thought out piece sums up the issue better than I ever could. I think Brook’s piece is exactly how many of us feel. And if you’re a Pro App/Mac Pro user and you don’t agree 100% with the article, you’re bound to be in agreement with a portion of it. If you don’t agree with any of it, well … I question your use of Apple products in a professional production/post environment.
What in the world are professional content creators to do? Switch to PC? We seem to be less and less important to Apple. As much as I love my iPhone and my iPad, I’d give them both away to know that Apple is upgrading, updating and paying proper attention to its Pro products, software and hardware. Given the size of the company and its resources, it seems Apple should be able to do both.
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