The Mac Pro is really nice, but really flawed...

I watched the Apple presentation.

Honestly, I didn't have high expectations. I mean, we all knew what was coming with the leaks and Apple's recent simple-safe-boring updates over the past few years. A lighter&thinner iPad with a better processor to hold a stretched grid of static childish icons that can even run two things at once, smaller MacBook Pros with Retina Displays without any wow factor or special feature and OS X Mavericks, which is, again, an obvious evolution from the previous OS.

What I found interesting though is the new Mac Pro. It looks like a trash can, but the design is not where I'm interested about this product. You see my main computer is an Alienware Aurora R3 and it's freakishly huge. I love that monster computer with the lights and striking design, but the idea of a compact super powerhouse on your desk in also very interesting.  Power, lots of power and that is perfect for someone like me with huge power needs when rendering huge scenes in 3DS Max and compositions in After Effects. Of course, I would install Windows 8.1 on it and leave OS X on the side, but the computer itself is amazing.

The only problem is that for a super-powered workstation for professionals it sucks; they completely forgot how professionals actually work. They wrongly oversimplified the product to the point that it will be a pain to use in a lot of use scenarios. 

 Let me explain!

Here's an awesome picture of the Apple Mac Pro workstation. 


 ...and here's how that "workstation" will look like when you make it useful. Yeah, not so great I know.


What "Pro" means

Apple is seriously losing focus, that is in the professional market of course. I mean the iPad and iPhone are clearly consumer devices; they are made to be super simple and lack any real productivity functionality.

Yes, Apple added iWork to all their new devices and even if iWork were to be on the same level as Microsoft Office or Google Docs let's not forget what these devices are lacking. The iPad for example lacks a real informative/customizable interface, USB port, kickstand/stylus/keyboard attachment and of course, real multitasking by doing two things at the same time. I will also add visual coherence to that list because of iOS 7 and some parts of Mavericks. It's okay because these are consumer devices that any adult or kid can use. I don't understand why students and productive people get them, but that's another story.

The new Mac Pro has a bigger problem. It's a great device, but it is not a productivity and professional focused device; it's not a good device for the people they are targeting it to. By trying to make the Mac Pro simple and nice, they forgot how their actual target audience is actually working.

Our desktop computer is our master workstation. Whatever we can't do with our mobile devices, we know that our workstation can do. That's the main reason why Apple scrapped the optical drive out of all their MacBooks, because it's pointless to always have one with you; your laptop is made to be mobile, your desktop computer is there when you need to fill the gaps.

Your main workstation is your monster with all the possible ports and swap-able goodness.

Right now my setup is a 3 monitor workstation running on a Dell Alienware Aurora R3. I consider myself a professional doing extensive 3D modeling, composition animation, video editing and design, so I'm right in their target demographic.

Having a Mac Pro would be a mess!

First of all, my three monitors are HDMI and there's only one on the Mac Pro. That is completely ridiculous. My Alienware costs less and gives me a butt load of plugs for my display. DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, each doubled! My first step would be to add two Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapters.

Then, there's no optical drive. Apple were entirely right to kick out the optical drive for their mobile computer... because when we'll need it, there's always that trusty desktop computer at home. The production world is still full of CDs and DVDs, things to burn and read and clients who doesn't even understand what a USB key or Dropbox/SkyDrive is. So yeah, we gotta add that external CD/DVD/BluRay? drive on one of the USB port.

Ok seriously, no card reader? I understand that Microsoft didn't focus on that part for my Surface Pro 2, that thing needs to be tight and light. I'm still angry against Dell for not including one in their XPS 12. But not including one of the most crucial device of the 21st century, a multi-card reader or at least -bare minimum- a SD card reader: ridiculous. Photography, production, music equipment or just transferring files; it's all through a digital card these days. Therefore, we need to add one and take a second USB port.

I use a Logitech Wireless MX5500 Mouse/Keyboard combo. It's old, squeaky and eats batteries alive, but the MX Revolution mouse with adaptive scroll wheel and thumb-wheel, plus the keyboard with the 1-click calculator thanks to the built-in screen is a kick-ass combo that I never, ever, what to be separated from.  It's like a Microsoft Intellimouse or a good old IBM PC-type mechanical keyboard, nothing can replace these, especially not a thin wireless aluminium keyboard without any useful feature and a magic mouse that can transform basic computer ergonomy into a joke in minutes. So yeah, I'm keeping that combo so that's another USB port out for the wireless adapter.

Now here's where it gets interesting! We now need to add a USB hub of shame. Yes, we need to add a USB hub on a main desktop workstation. The Mac Pro only has a regular stereo 3.5mm and again, since there isn't any PCI extension and I have a 5.1 sound system I have to, you guessed it, plug in a USB sound card.

You want your OS installed on an SSD drive on your main workstation and Apple delivered on that point. Now the thing with the SSD drive is that you're stuck paying a high price for a very low disk space. Since you can't stack a bunch or hard drives in your new computer and that 256GB sure isn't enough, you gotta get that external hard drive for you big storage. At least, this time we can find a nice external Thunderbolt HDD.

Finally we have the whole "stuck-with-what-you-bought" problem. I mean changing a graphics card kinda sucks. We need an easy place to resell computer components (Startup idea anyone? Buy PC components, recycle the components or build computers out of them!) to encourage easy computer upgrades. Even if you're not the type to upgrade your PC, and you really should because changing your whole desktop every time is really stupid and inefficient, it's reassuring to have that option.

It's a shame... 

The iPhone and iPad lack functionality and coherence for their high price, an iPod Touch is kinda useless when you can go buy a full Windows Phone off-contract for 100$, Apple TV doesn't compete with the Roku or even an Xbox, the peripherals lacks any important feature or even ergonomy, iMac are also a game of outside looks and form, etc. The Mac Pro has always been about the professionals; getting that no compromise with a touch of style. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Apple went the other way around. They transformed their Mac Pro into an iPad or iPhone-like device. They killed Final Cut and turned the knife again with the Mac Pro.

Apple officially builds high-priced devices that are full of compromises for the argument of style and appearance. All their devices now.