Apple has, and not unreasonably, spent a lot of time over the last five years working on its mobile technology. Completely changing the course of mobile technology and reinventing a niche computer market as the most important sector in the computing industry takes time, and it did sort of make the company billions of dollars. But now it has a little time, so it’s returning to a beloved, if niche, product, the Mac Pro.
And it’s returning to it with a vengeance.
Under the hood, this is probably one of the most ridiculous computers you can buy. It has dual GPUs, with up to seven teraflops of graphical horsepower, and supports 4K video streaming for up to three monitors. You can get up to twelve cores of processing power. It has 60 GB per second of memory bandwidth. It has a massive, custom heat sink with the components arranged in a triangle around the outside, coincidentally making access to those components fairly easy. It has every port you could possibly need or want, from USB 3 to Thunderbolt. And it’s tiny, too, at just about ten inches tall by seven inches wide. It’s even made in America.
OK, so it’s not perfect. From the outside, it looks like a public ashtray from the ’80s designed by a minimalist art student. It’s not ugly, but it’s not the most attractively designed product Apple has ever released.
Still, for fans of Apple from way back, it’s a little bit of validation that, yes, Apple still cares about professional needs and still wants to make computers that, no matter what their ultimate value, are at least something a little different. And that’s a nice, warm fuzzy feeling for Mac fanatics, even as they start preparing signs stating that their new Mac Pro is not a place for your butts.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.