It may not be as exciting as brand new portables or a fresh operating system, but the stalwart Mac Pro got a little attention today in the form of a little speed bump. Those who were hoping for a revolutionary, supercharged Mac Pro update are out of luck; however, it’s not much of a boost.
The starter model comes with a 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon CPU, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $2,499. Next up is a pair of 2.4GHz six-core processors with 12GB of RAM and another 1TB hard drive for $3,799. There’s a Mac Pro server bump that gives you 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon, 8GB of RAM and two 1TB hard drives for $2,999. It did not, however, get a bump to include Thunderbolt ports (huh?) or 802.11n (wha?).
The Mac Pro has been the subject of discussion and debate in recent years, as the laughably high price tag and vulgar display of power doesn’t fit into the lifestyle of most casual users, thus making it a pretty poor seller in comparison to the iMac, which boasts much better power-to-cost ratio. The Mac Pro is super powerful, but the distinction between “pro” and “non-pro” used to be a different ball of wax. Back in the day, an Apple consumer product (such as the iMac) was fine for basic computing work, but any strenuous job had to be handed off to a bigger iron. Now, the iMac (and any of the Apple laptops) can chew through most consumer tasks, including games and video, as well as just simply providing smoothness and instant response in the UI. Where consumers would once look to the “pro” option for high-end “consumer” jobs, there are few users on the market who need the Mac Pro’s muscle. Apple may have given the Mac Pro a bit of a boost, but it looks like there will still be plenty of questions about where in the market it truly belongs… if anywhere.